EldestGirl turned six this week, a fact which I find utterly astonishing. In some ways it seems merely weeks ago that she was from my womb quite-timely-thank-you-very-much-if-not-rather-on-the-late-side ripped.
I looked at her appraisingly as I helped her brush her teeth on her birthday morning. I stroked her hair and said, “I can’t believe you’re six!”
She looked at me too. We locked eyes in a tender moment. “I can’t believe you’re 38,” she replied.
I flatter myself she had a good birthday, with the appropriate ratio of plastic tat to books and activities, a birthday tea at McDonalds, followed by a weekend party at our local soft play with her friends.
For an extra-special treat we allowed her to have a friend over for her first ever sleepover after her party. Her friend’s mother is one of my best friends, so she was staying over too. I hoped this might give us some scope for damage limitation. My rough plan went like this:
7.15 p.m. Tell the girls it is time to go to sleep
7.30 p.m. Tell the girls no more talking, it is time to go to sleep
7.45 p.m. Begin making empty threats
8.00 p.m. Begin making threats we would actually consider following through
9.00 p.m. Give them 15 more minutes before threatening to split them up into separate rooms
10.00 p.m. Follow through on this threat.
It went to plan splendidly. After significant bed-bouncing, at 7.15 we told the girls it was time to go to sleep. They were then suspiciously quiet and therefore almost certainly having a midnight feast, emptying all the drawers or having a silent disco.
At 7.30 I popped my head around the door to see what devastation they had wreaked. They were both fast asleep.
So if you are planning your child’s first sleepover, I can heartily recommend two hours of soft play to wear them out beforehand. Admittedly, you’re just getting two hours of a shit time earlier in the day rather than at night, but it’s worth considering.